State of the Union? I’ll Show You Some State of the Union… and of the World.
Just a few headlines from around the internet recently. With stories like this, who gives a f*ck what Barack Obama has to say. Open thread.
Richest are getting richer: 1% will own more than all the rest — by next year (Oxfam International)
If current trends continue, the richest one percent of people on our planet will own more global wealth than the remaining world population in 2016. Such extreme inequality will not only stall the fight against poverty, but could also stymie economic growth.
The US Military’s Stunning Conspiracy Theory Emerges From The Archives: “ISIS Leader Does Not Exist” (ZeroHedge)
Having noted that voter angst has been riled, propagandized, and fear-mongered to the point at which the most pressing priority for Congress is to ‘fix’ terrorism, it is perhaps not entirely surprising that we discover – deep down in the archives – that giving the public someone to ‘hate’ as opposed to something may have been an entire fiction. As The New York Times exposed in 2007, Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, the titular head of the Islamic State, according to Brigadier General Kevin Bergner – the chief American military spokesman at the time – never existed (and was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima).
Peculiarities of Russian National Character (ClubOrlov)
Recent events, such as the overthrow of the government in Ukraine, the secession of Crimea and its decision to join the Russian Federation, the subsequent military campaign against civilians in Eastern Ukraine, western sanctions against Russia, and, most recently, the attack on the ruble, have caused a certain phase transition to occur within Russian society, which, I believe, is very poorly, if at all, understood in the west. This lack of understanding puts Europe at a significant disadvantage in being able to negotiate an end to this crisis.
Whereas prior to these events the Russians were rather content to consider themselves “just another European country,” they have now remembered that they are a distinct civilization, with different civilizational roots (Byzantium rather than Rome)—one that has been subject to concerted western efforts to destroy it once or twice a century, be it by Sweden, Poland, France, Germany, or some combination of the above. This has conditioned the Russian character in a specific set of ways which, if not adequately understood, is likely to lead to disaster for Europe and the world.
How Propaganda Conquers Democracy (ConsortiumNews)
Do we live in a country where citizens are critically informed on the issues of the day by media that operate independently of the government? Or do our political leaders deliberately plant a false view of events and issues in the mind of the public that complicit media then broadcast and amplify to generate public consent for government policy?
This is a basic test of democracy for the citizens of any country. But the very nature of modern propaganda systems is that they masquerade as independent while functioning as the opposite, so the question is not as straightforward as it seems.
Ruin Is Our Future (Paul Craig Roberts)
Neoconservatives arrayed in their Washington offices are congratulating themselves on their success in using the Charlie Hebdo affair to reunite Europe with Washington’s foreign policy. No more French votes with the Palestinians against the Washington-Israeli position. No more growing European sympathy with the Palestinians. No more growing European opposition to launching new wars in the Middle East. No more calls from the French president to end the sanctions against Russia.
Do the neoconservatives also understand that they have united Europeans with the right-wing anti-immigration political parties? The wave of support for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists is the wave of Marine Le Pen’s National Front, Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party, and Germany’s PEGIDA sweeping over Europe. These parties are empowered by the anti-immigration fervor that was orchestrated in order to reunite Europeans with Washington and Israel.
Once again the arrogant and insolent neoconservatives have blundered. Charlie Hebdo’s empowerment of the anti-immigration parties has the potential to revolutionize European politics and destroy Washington’s empire.
2014: Hottest Year in Recorded Human History (WunderGround)
Earth had its warmest year on record in 2014, said NOAA and NASA at a joint press conference today.According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, global surface temperatures in 2014 were 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20th century average, highest among all years in the 1880-2014 record, easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.07°F (0.04°C). Using independent measurement techniques but mostly the same set of surface stations, NASA also rated 2014 as the warmest year on record, as did the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
And that’s just skimming my news feed…